The internet dominates our lives. We use it to find out what time the coffee shop closes, the definition of sardonic, and where our best friend is right now. We use it for school work, distraction, and social connection. It is important and our lives would be drastically different without it. However, the internet can have negative sides too. The more time we spend on the internet, the less time we are spending doing other significant things; such as reading a book, talking with our family, or walking the dog. You may find that if you unfriend the internet your attention span will expand, your relationships may feel more real, and you may feel healthier.
Shrinking Attention Spans
Statistic Brain cites studies that found the average attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds. This is shorter than a goldfish that clocks in at 9 seconds. The same survey found only 4% of webpages were visited for more than 10 minutes. The internet is full of what is called click bait. Links and ads demand your attention while you are trying to read the page you are on. If you are uninterested, you can simply click a link to something more exciting. As a result, attention spans are becoming increasingly short and our brains are no longer required to engage with the material that is in front of us.
Unfriending the internet doesn’t have to be drastic. You don’t have to cut yourself off entirely. Instead, take time away. When you study, turn off your social notifications. Go out for a walk or run and don’t look at your phone. Pick a few hours over the weekend where you won’t turn on your phone or computer. Unplug and talk with your family, go outside, read a book, or even take a nap. Spending some time unconnected to the internet can help your brain reset and relieve some feelings of being overwhelmed.
It is okay to take some time off, reset, and relax. You may find yourself feeling less stress, less anxiety, more engaged, and better able to focus when you take intentional time away from the internet. Making a plan that will be achievable will help you unfriend the internet and experience all of the benefits.
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